Senator Chuck Schumer called on Sunday for the federal Justice Department to investigate the National Rifle Association’s bankruptcy claims amid what he labeled “evil deeds” by the gun rights advocacy group.
At a June 11 press conference, the Senate majority leader called for federal prosecutors to conduct a bankruptcy fraud investigation into the NRA after the organization reportedly funneled millions of dollars into advertisements rebuking proposed universal background check legislation before firearm purchases.
Last summer, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the NRA for failing to follow several gun laws, which Schumer cites as an act to escape James’ New York jurisdiction since the NRA continues to pay for ads to halt “common sense” gun reform.
“As well all know, gun violence is spiking here in New York and around the country, and at the federal, state, and local levels good people are trying to do good work to curtail this violence,” Schumer said. He listed the various legislations that have been put forward on both the state and federal level, such as the “ghost gun” regulation and holding manufactures liable for gun violence.
Referencing surveys conducted throughout the United States, Schumer shared that universal background checks are something about 90% of Americans support with about 80% of gun owners backing as well.
However, the NRA’s stance has been the polar opposite, believing that background checks do not stop criminals from obtaining guns (stating that many of these weapons have been purchased on the black market) and firmly added that federal gun control laws are strong enough as they are.
Additionally, the NRA’s website provides a list of arguments against background checks, one being that it would deprive citizens of their due process.
Schumer calls the NRA’s actions “evil” as they shell money into advertisements, mailers, texts, and more to thwart efforts made by elected officials and the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) all the while stating that they are bankrupt.
“The NRA is just constantly trying to stop the efforts of good folks from preventing the guns going on the streets. Today, I am here to reveal some nauseating news: the NRA is now in the midst of dumping millions of dollars across the country via ads, tweets, and automated texts to stop universal background checks. The NRA is spending millions on ads to stop the passing of a bill we all believe in, which is universal background checks,” Schumer said.
“How can you say you are bankrupt when you have millions of dollars to spend on ads throughout the country trying to prevent universal background checks, gun tracing and other things that would stop the killings on the streets from happening? What hypocrisy, what blatant hypocrisy,” he added.
Schumer is pushing for the DOJ to investigate if the NRA did indeed file false court papers stating that they were bankrupt even though they were able to spend $2 million on ad campaigns within 12 states since April 2021, and other “cash dumps” on advertising efforts against gun control laws.
“The NRA could have shot itself in the foot with this fake and desperate bankruptcy filing and the Department of Justice should investigate its actions and outrageous spending to determine if fraud or other actionable offenses were committed. By filing for bankruptcy to escape investigation and accountability in New York’s jurisdiction, the NRA abused the bankruptcy system and potentially committed fraud,” Schumer said.
In response to Schumer’s calls for an investigation, the NRA provided amNewYork Metro with a statement rebuking the Senate Majority leader’s claims.
“The NRA has said repeatedly in public forums that we are financially stronger than ever. We have also said that we will continue to wage, and win, the public debate over ‘gun control.’ It is regrettable that Sen. Schumer chose to ignore those salient facts in his press conference Sunday,” says Andrew Arulanandam, managing director of NRA Public Affairs. “And unfortunately for Sen. Schumer and his gun control money masters, our winning arguments are protected by the First Amendment. That’s why Sen. Schumer’s weak, tyrannical threat of DOJ retaliation fails.”
Arulanandam continued, “Gun control proposals are deeply unpopular, because voters know what Sen. Schumer chooses to ignore: criminals are the cause of the murder spike in America’s cities – not law-abiding gun owners.”
Additionally, the NRA shared Judge Harlin D. Hale’s comments on their bankruptcy case, underscoring that the organization would be compliant in paying its creditors while also continuing to fulfill its mission.
“The NRA believes Sen. Schumer is promoting a false narrative,” says William A. Brewer III, counsel to the NRA. “The NRA pursued a financial reorganization for one reason: to streamline its financial and legal affairs. The truth is, the proceedings in question confirmed what the Association disclosed from the outset – the NRA is financially solvent, and the filing in Texas was part of its long-term plans to effectively serve its members. Although the bankruptcy court did not believe the filing was for a proper bankruptcy purpose, it specifically did not find the NRA acted in bad faith. The facts speak for themselves, despite the political gamesmanship of the NRA’s adversaries.”